Ontario, Quebec can do it better together.

Two provinces with the resources are better than one. Two provinces with the ideas are better than one. And two provinces working together can rebuild Canada’s economy to make the country the most dynamic in the world. People have talked about this idea for many years but ignorance and caution have been the cause of continued inaction. It is time to force the change.

This came out of a discussion with a friend who is an expert on the business needs of Ontario. The question asked was: What is the one basic ingredient to restoring our economic viability?” He spoke without hesitation: “A high-speed rail corridor from Windsor to Quebec City. It is essential to the long-term economic health of Ontario, Quebec and Canada.”

And he is right, with one proviso: The trains must be high-speed electric!

Quebec is currently studying electrifying rail in that province. It has the low-cost hydro electric power to spare. If those Quebec City to Montreal trains continue west to Toronto and Windsor, it means year-round boosts to tourism and commerce for both provinces. It means easing the congestion of inter-city airline flights. It is the infusion of billions of dollars of upgrading in the rail corridor. It offers same day city-to-city rail freight. It creates tens of thousands of jobs for both provinces. We can build the 250 to 300 kilometres per hour trains. We can build the infrastructure.

Clean, efficient, fast electric trains will change the dynamics of commuter travel to the major cities in both provinces. Commuters will have their travel times cut by at least a third. More stations can be added because of the ease of electric trains in coming up to full speed.

And then we can look north because that is the future.

Both provinces need low cost transportation for goods and people to their resource rich north country. And they need the transportation for the output of the mines to processing.

The initial changeover and infrastructure cost will be in the range of many billions. It will take years of planning and construction. It will take new arrangements in energy distribution and costing. It will take people with daring, foresight, intelligence and guts to make it happen. Quebec has already launched the idea. We need to tell Quebec that Ontario wants on board. Because, together, we can get it done.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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